Redknapp roused to fury by fans' abuse of Fuller

Southampton 1 Hull City 1
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The Independent Football

The Southampton manager defended Ricardo Fuller, who was the subject of a barrage of expletives upon his substitution but he would not excuse the home fans' reaction to the former Portsmouth forward's performance.

There were chants, too, for Rupert Lowe to leave, but Redknapp's response was tangential: "The crowd? You don't want [chants like] that. They can't fault the football they're seeing. If they were watching a load of rubbish, I'd be the first to admit it. They've seen us dominate but just not win games. We've all got to stick together." But Redknapp was ready to criticise a couple of his fringe players whom he wanted involved in this game.

Kenwyne Jones, a young striker, had featured in World Cup qualification for Trinidad & Tobago in the week and ruled himself out of contention on his arrival back on the south coast.

Redknapp's reaction was plain for all to see: "It's disappointing for the young lad to be tired." Marian Pahars is still a Saint, and is theoretically close to a first-team comeback after 18 months out injured. Inevitably, however, he pulled out on the eve of this game.

Redknapp said: "It's disappointing that he's gone lame again. I thought this was the perfect game for him to come on and score."

Redknapp's face was a picture when he was asked if Pahars would be available for League duty tomorrow. "Ready for Leeds away on Tuesday...?" he commented scornfully and left it at that.

Stuck with players like that, Redknapp did praise his central defender Michael Svensson, who made his home return after 19 months out with a knee injury.

Matthew Oakley had given the Saints a deserved first-half lead, but with no one else looking likely to score, they were always vulnerable and Kevin Ellison duly delivered Hull's equaliser with a shot in off the near post.

In the Championship, not losing games is not hurting Southampton too badly yet. When Redknapp can get a goalscorer, they might get the support back on their side too.

Goals: Oakley (44) 1-0; Ellison (79) 1-1. Southampton (4-4-2): Niemi; Hajto, Lundekvam, Svensson, Higginbotham; Belmadi, Oakley, Quashie, Kosowski (Walcott, 77); Ormerod, Fuller (Blackstock, 88). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Cranie, Delap Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Lynch, Cort, Delaney, Dawson; France, Welsh, Woodhouse (Green, 77), Barmby (Burgess, 63); Brown (Ellison, 63), Fagan. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Joseph.

Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

Booked: Southampton Hajto, Belmadi; Hull Brown.

Man of the match: Quashie.

Attendance: 23,810.

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